Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29

GENERAL CLEANING

Written by
Published on January 2018

     As I was tidying up each Saturday morning, I had not realized that I was expected to sweep where the carpenters and fitters worked and also pick up stray pieces of wood and place them into a huge bin.  This extra work took me all around the site and I made the acquaintance of other men who were cleaning the drills and sharpening the saws.    

     At other times the men broke off for a cup of coffee and a smoke but I did not stay long because of the smoke. 
    It was once in the restroom that a man asked me where my dad worked.  My reply puzzled him when I said South Durham Iron and Steel Company in Middlesbrough, England.  
    This brought out another question, “What are you doing here at Woodworks”?  
    “Well,” I said, “that is another story,” and I gave him a brief resume, ie. leaving Liverpool by Steamer with my sister and 24 other children.  
    “U Boats,” he asked “did you see any?”  
    “No, none seen, but the effects of their activities around our convoy sinking up to 4 ships were seen.”  
    By this time they were all ears and moved closer to me as I related my movements over the past three years.  
    Then one man spoke up and enquired why I wore, on the front of my cap, a brass badge with the word Canada.    
    “Because I’m proud to be in Canada” I replied.  
     Well, that prompted another question from him in the form of a statement.  
    “Canadian boys do not usually wear Canada badges on their caps.”  
     My response surprised them. 
    “I’m not Canadian, but English.”  
    “No,  you don’t even sound like English.”  
     Well, that is a compliment you would not attribute to me if you saw me every month parading with the Royal Canadian Medical Corps Reserve.  
    Just then, the site boss popped his head around the door with a stern look.  He growled “Come on all of you, let’s have you on the job, you are like a gaggle of geese wanting feeding.”  Then he grinned at me and said “don’t take too much notice of them.”  
    “Oh, you are mistaken,” I responded.  “It was me who sparked their interest and this produced many questions about leaving England by steamer and travelling to the new land with my little sister.”  
    “Okay” he said, “ don’t overdo it.  Just give them a bit at a time.”

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/general-cleaning